TSgt. Railer Cantrell, a KC-135 boom operator with the 351st Air Refueling Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, Britain, surpassed 6,000 flying hours during a mission Aug. 18 refueling F-15s over Newcastle, England. Cantrell has been a boomer for 18 of his nearly 22 years in the Air Force. He is the only boom operator currently at Mildenhall who has reached this milestone and is the last original member of the squadron that was established there in 1992. Cantrell likely would have reached the milestone earlier, but a serious vehicle accident left him with injuries that kept him out of flying for three years. Racking up the 6,000 flying hours has taken Cantrell to 48 states and more than 65 countries. (Mildenhall report by Karen Abeyasekere)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.